I said to my sister on the phone the other day, “Sometimes I feel like I’m suffocating by my life”.
Now, before any of you start to worry that I am falling off the deep end, I’m not. But, some days, suffocation by my reality as a stay at home mom feels, well….real.
It’s so hard to imagine something before you begin it.
Kind of like how you can tell someone all day long that having a child is both the hardest and most beautiful thing they will ever experience.
How the newborn phase can make you feel like you are going to die from sleep deprivation (you won’t). But, until they experience it, it’s impossible for them to understand what you are saying. Basically, you waste your breath trying to convey an impossible thing to convey.
But, when I pick up the phone and call my sister and tell her I’m suffocating because I haven’t had time to myself in months, and the baby says “Mommy” 1,239 times a day, she gets it. She doesn’t judge.
Some days, she feels she is suffocating too.
There are people though, that don’t get it.
Maybe they are the stay at home mom that truly, and beautifully wanted nothing more than to do crafts with her kids all day long, and cook everything from scratch.
Or, maybe it is the working mom that is dying to be a stay at home Mom, and can’t fathom how any of us can’t appreciate what we have. Or, maybe it’s the childless that look and covet what we have, feeling that the world is so cruel because we aren’t grateful.
It doesn’t matter, really. It really doesn’t. matter. Those people that don’t get it, probably never will.
That’s why I cling to those that do. That’s why I blog for those that also feel they are suffocating and drowning some days, and want to not feel alone when they bring it up at playgroup and the whole room goes silent.
That’s why I seek out friends, who in my mind aren’t negative, but are truthful when they feel the same way.
It doesn’t make me less than to feel like I’m suffocating. It makes me human. You see, I’m sacrificing a lot of me, to be “Mommy”. It’s a choice I made. It’s a choice that I LOVE most days.
Motherhood is also a choice that I’m allowed to feel frustrated by from time to time.
We are all guilty of it. Wanting something so bad, and then complaining when it isn’t what we expect.
The beauty of motherhood is that we grow. That’s the beauty of life, really. It’s a unique experience perfectly tailored to us, and what we need. And, what I need some days is to feel like I can say out loud, “I’m suffocating”.
For me, that saying it out loud part, is cathartic.
It helps me exhale and re-focus and think, “OK. This is harder than I thought, but I can do this.” And, I do. I wake up in a better mood the next day, or maybe I get more sleep.
I try to do things differently to course correct, and I become better. In little tiny increments that maybe no one is noticing but me. But, the saying it out loud part? It helps.
It doesn’t make me negative, or ungrateful, or drowning in misery to say out loud that motherhood is hard. It heals me.
The saying it out loud is part of MY healing process. Some may not see it as a positive, but I do. Because I see those little tiny incremental changes and I feel stronger every day.
I can face the dirty dishes, and the piles of laundry, and the I-need-2-extra-arms-to-get-it-all-done feeling, and the “enjoy every moment” comments from strangers when I say out loud that sometimes it’s not easy. Not enjoyable. And, sometimes I feel suffocated.
Because motherhood is both beautiful and yucky. It is both exhausting and exhilarating. It is both joyous and painful. It is both a test and a blessing. It is both a learning experience and a surviving experience.
It’s all of that.
So, I for one, am going to continue to say it out loud because I am human.
And, there is more than one way to be.
Emily Thomas says
It does make it better to say it out loud. But you’re right that you have to be careful who you say it to. I like to ask my kids if I’m making them crazy like they’re making me. They say ‘yes’ too quickly. At least I know we’re in it together then. 🙂
Ha! That’s true, I’m sure I drive them crazy also. 🙂
Amanda Neff says
I needed this. This week has been a tough one and I may have said “I can’t stand the teenage years” a few too many times. I also think one teen in particular gave me at least 70 extra grey hairs this week. Parenting is HARD! For stay at home moms, working moms, stay at home dads, working dads, you name it. It is the toughest job there is. Thankfully, it is also the most rewarding (most days). I question myself daily and just hope I am doing the right thing, but unfortunately, there is nothing to tell you the perfect way to do it. After venting to my mom about things she said it the most clear “just follow your heart”
It is SO SO hard. Glad this helped a little today. I don’t even want to think about teenagers yet. Can I come cry to you when I get to that stage??
Amanda Neff says
Yes! We can cry together because I will be in my second ‘set’ of teens by then and will surely be in a straight jacket!
Rayna Drago says
Amen sister! I must be a cat because I have suffocated at LEAST 9 times this week! Complain all you want to me…I won’t judge but join you! HA!
Ha! I know. This is why I love you.
jennifer groeber says
What a well-written piece! You’ve totally hit it!
And I will totally commiserate with you in the pre-school parking lot! Because I wanted this soooo badly for so long and now, I think my favorite metaphor for how I feel is the gumball machine. I wanted a gumball really, really badly. Put in the penny. No gum. Put in the penny. No gum. PUT IN THE PENNY! NO GUM! Sigh. Put in the penny. GUM POURING ALL OVER THE FLOOR! It’s never what you expect or in the way you expect it. That’s my motherhood experience. Too much gum, not enough of everything else.
But I do like an occasional gumball! 😉
saying it out loud IS so important! It makes us feel less alone and saying it takes away the taboo.
Ben Gardner says
I feel like I am suffocating at my job too. Thank goodness for my wife at home taking care of the kids. So I only have to be dad when I get home.
The Dusty Parachute says
I’m so glad that we live in a time where it is okay to have a day where you can say ‘this totally sucks!’ I don’t know what I would do without all my commiserating friends. 🙂
Yes!! I so feel you on this too! I had high hopes of being a SAHM and then I became one and well now I am achieving the goal of being a SAHM only sometimes like 3 days a week, and all day haha. There has to got be a midfle ground and im on a misdion to persue it!
Yes. Feel the feelings! Validate them so you can move them & move on.